Showing posts with label David P. Vandagriff. Show all posts
Showing posts with label David P. Vandagriff. Show all posts

Friday, November 9

An Indie Success Story: Donna Fasano

Donna Fasano And Her Publishing Journey

Donna Fasano wrote for a traditional publisher for nearly 20 years and published 32 romance novels that sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide.

3.5 million!

Do you know how much her royalty was? 2% to 6%! Still, Donna was able to put her kids through college and do nifty things like take vacations. And, besides, when Donna started writing there was no alternative to traditional publishing. Now, of course, there is.

Once Donna realized what self-publishing could do for her she wrote to her publisher and got the rights back to 10 of her books.

Since then Donna has sold ... wait for it ... 120,000 copies of those previously out-of-print books! I hope Donna doesn't mind but I did some quick calculations. If she sold each book for, say, $3.00 and received a royalty of around 70% she would receive well over $200,000!

No wonder publishers don't want to give authors their rights back!

Reversion Of Rights: How To Get Your Rights Back

It can be brutally difficult to get your rights back. Often the publishing contract is unclear regarding what needs to be done and publishers drag their feet at every step of the process hoping you'll give up. (see: Doing What's Right: How To Get The Rights To Your Books Reverted)

Donna Fasano went to a lawyer for help, David P. Vandagriff of The Passive Voice Blog. In her superlative blog post Donna steps you through what she did and sings David's praises. Her article is well worth reading, even if you've never traditionally published: Going Indie: from OOP to self-pub bestseller.

Thanks to Passive Guy for posting a link to Donna's article.

Other articles you might like:

- David Mamet On How To Write A Great Story
- How To Earn A Living As A Self-Published Writer
- Third Person Omniscient, Third Person Limited or First Person. Which Point of View Is Right For You?

Photo credit: "Mystical station" by Jsome1 under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Friday, September 30

Book Contracts No Author Should Sign

As PG has read book contracts for his clients (Thank You!) and contracts contributed to his Contract Collection (Thank You!), one message keeps coming through loud and strong.


Contempt for authors.

Contempt from publishers for authors.

Contempt from agents for authors.
Passive Guy (PG), from The Passive Voice blog, is the alter ego of David P. Vandagriff, an attorney who works with contracts and his superpower is making contracts understandable, even interesting!
Many publishers have their version of a clause designed to capture new book rights that will be invented one hundred years from now.

Publishers were blind-sided by ebooks and have had to simply claim their contracts included ebooks even when the contract never mentioned anything but hardcovers and paperbacks.

Publishers know that if an author takes them to court, a judge will ask a question something like, “Where does it talk about ebooks in this contract?” Publisher’s counsel will respond by talking about emanations and penumbras floating around paragraph 15 and subparagraph 21(d). The judge’s well-honed BS meter will quickly be pegged in the red zone.

A contract is supposed to reflect the intentions of the parties at the time it is signed. Copyright law includes a presumption that any right not expressly granted by an author is deemed reserved to the author. If an author requests a standard reservation of rights clause, even a publisher may feel embarrassed by refusing to include it.

So, in the tradition of fighting the last war, we see a Rights Clause whereby the author grants the publisher the sole and exclusive right to create or produce or cause to magically appear any book or book-like object or book idea and beam the result into the sky in any form which is now or may in the future be stumbled-upon or imagined or hallucinated by the mind of man and/or machine in any conceivable or inconceivable way and anywhere throughout the world and the universe, whether presently mapped or unmapped.

In the reality-based business world, if PG received a contract including a clause like this, he would call opposing counsel and ask, “Sally, what are you smoking?”

In the traditional publishing world, the author is supposed to sign at the bottom of the page.


Finally (for this post), there are all the smarmy little attempts to put one over on an author. PG can appreciate well-crafted deviousness just for the art of it, but these are stupid deviousness.

How to choose between so many candidates for discussion?

Passive Guy will return to last July for this one, an audit clause:
Author may, with sixty (60) days’ written notice but not more than once a year, assign and designate a certified and independent public accountant to examine Publisher’s records as they relate to the Work. Such examination shall be at Author’s expense unless errors are found in excess of ten percent (10%) of royalties in Author’s favor, then Publisher shall pay amounts owing for the Work and the reasonable cost of the audit.

As a condition precedent to the exercise by Author of his/her right to examine the books and records of Publisher, Author’s duly authorized certified and independent public accountant shall execute an agreement to the effect that any information obtained as a result of such examination shall be held strictly confidential and shall not be revealed to any third party other than Author or her representative without written permission by Publisher. Author also hereby agrees to hold all information and statements provided to Author or her accountant in strictest confidence.

Do you see the smarmy deviousness?

In order to perform an audit to determine if the publisher is stealing from the author, the accountant hired by the author will have to sign an agreement, an agreement the publisher will create.

How hard is it for the publisher to create an agreement no accountant will ever sign? Not very.

No signature, no audit. You’ll just have to be satisfied with the numbers we decide to put on your royalty report, dearie.
To read the rest of PGs marvelous rant about contracts, click here: How to Read a Book Contract – Contempt